Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 6/27/2006
Fall of Serenity
posted on 7/2006 By:
I'll be up front, I am tired of melodic death metal; At The Gates riffing, Carnal Forge speed and Maiden leads. And I have a lot of At the Gates, Carnal Forge and Maiden discs. To continually rerelease them to me has lost its charm. So I can't get too excited about Fall of Serenity, no matter how well made their album is. And it is well made; pummeling and relentless, well crafted compositions and superb musicianship. But it just bleeds together with too many other bands doing the same thing. But we are, are we not, getting to that point again in death metal where someone needs to find the spark and blow us away with their new take on this genre's rapid descent into irrelevance.
Those of you who know me understand how torturous those words are for me to wrench from my brain onto the page.
I tell you though, there are some signs, right here on this record that a new push to the edges could be forthcoming. Fall of Serenity do manage to write what would be great songs in any tempo and with any decorative musicianship. They get very dark...redundant for death metal?... and attack the melodic element of the MDM in a creatively obtuse way. It gives their music the occasional dramatic flair you find with bands like Devolved and The Amenta. But where these bands are taking a technical approach, Fall of Serenity go for the more populist melodic angle. It's not a bad sound or approach, but I have heard it ten too many times now.
But I am a reviewer. I get to hear everything, like it or not. You are probably not over saturated, and if that is so, this record blows away its peers in the melodeath arena like flamethrower in a knife fight. I am not so jaded that I can't hear the power and authority of this band. They play their stuff with fury and desperation and record it perfectly. And the melodic leads, while more prevalent than I would prefer, are not ubiquitous. The band is far more interested in balancing the punishment with the rewards and it makes the record a far better product. They put at least as much thought into riffing as running, and they are always aware of the effects of constant rhythmic timing, never allowing a tempo to overstay its welcome. They definitely put death before melodic. The vocals range from Crown like shouting roars to Bolt Thrower roars - not a huge range, but it maintains the interest level.
The production is pretty fucking magnificent. It does sound studio, but the band's weightiness is captured flawlessly. The ones hit fucking hard and the chugging is like a panzer division. When the leads are present they are clear but not incongruous. The vocals are almost exactly right in the mix and the mastering is consistent. A top notch job by the back end.
The bottom line is dependant on how much of this stuff you are exposed to. If you only have five or six melodeath/death and roll records, you need this one. If you have a dozen or more, like I do, this one should replace some of the weaker examples, and it's still worth owning. But it's getting to the point where even a more or less flawless record in this style is simply no longer compelling. My hope through this bitching is that the bands of true quality - and Fall of Serenity is absolutely one of these - in death metal really start pushing some boundaries, if there are any to be pushed. I think there are. The melodic death scene needs a good kick in the ass. I believe Fall of Serenity is a band with a big fucking boot.
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